They kind of taste like dirt. Or maybe I've just never got them clean enough, I don't know. Regardless, I usually steer clear of the red dirt clumps.
But the other day I was making my usual lentil rice burger, when I realized I didn't have enough lentils or Veganaise to increase the bulk/binder/moisture ratio I generally achieve in homemade burgers. I searched the cabinets for something that would fit in, tempted by a can of northern beans and some old stuffing, but low and behold I found a jar of pickled beets staring me right in my face.
Mocking me. Tempting me with their red, you-don't-know-how-to-use-me, beet ways.
So I figured screw it. Even if I didn't like them, at the very least my husband would have burgers for the next week.
Turns out I was wrong. Maybe I don't dig beets all by their lonesome, but dice up some of the pickled variety and toss them into a mix and you've got a real contender there.
Warning, this recipe makes a lot. But it's OK, because you're going to want to eat them for three or four days anyway!
Meet your beet burger
(Makes 8-10 semi-large burgers)
2 cups cooked lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I like to keep the crust from bread I don't use and freeze it. Then I'll make breadcrumbs or stuffing or whatever with it later)
1 12oz jar of pickled beets (and 1/3 the juice)
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 TBS minced garlic
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp dried fennel
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
Cook your lentils and rice per the product's instructions (can vary depending on brand). In a medium bowl, stir together lentils and brown rice. Add about 1/3 of the juice from the pickled beets into your lentil rice mixture and then take the beets and dice them up by hand (if you like a little texture to your burger) or throw them in your food processor and let it do it's thing (if you want it more pasty). Add in diced onion and garlic. Add the tumeric, fennel, black pepper and sea salt last.
In a pan on medium heat, add a little butter or oil until it's heated. (Not a lot, just enough to cover the pan's surface). Form your beat, lentil and rice mixture into balls (about baseball to tennis ball size) and then smash them down into patties. Cook them in the hot skillet for 8-10 minutes, or until a nice crust forms on each side. Beware, because of the texture and coloring from the beets, these babies tend to look a little on the real side.
Serve with your favorite burger toppings. I recommend not cooking these until they're going to be eaten, as they can get crumbly if you let them sit out too long. The burger mixture will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
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